So, as a young professional in Los Angeles, one of the skills I always try to perfect is networking. Now, networking can often happen by chance or through colleagues, but my favorite form is finding specific events and mixers in LA where I can find people who are passionate about the same subject as me (most often startups and technology). I find these events through friends, google searches, and pure chance, but one of the wonderful things about the internet is that it is always trying to organize itself and make information more accessible. Through my haphazard exploration of the internet, I discovered my four favorite ways to find networking events and communities are LinkedIn, Meetup.com, Coworking spaces, and Websites. If you have any additional website/methods to add, please comment below. I am hoping others can use this article as a resource for their own networking efforts.
LinkedIn is seriously one of my best friends. Most people use it to keep track of their network, but it is also helpful in expanding it. It has a series of groups that you can join for a variety of professional fields. Your best option is to look at profiles of people similar to you and check out what groups they are following. Be careful of groups that are just full of ads, and never feel bad for leaving one. Most of the ones I follow are too specific to post here (such as social media), but two you might want to follow are Innovate Pasadena and Digital LA.
Meetup.com is fairly new site, but one that is quickly growing and becoming a valuable resource for all communities, not just tech and startups. The ones I pay most attention to are LA Tech Happy Hour and Friday Morning Coffee, but you can find ones for your own tastes just by using keywords (ex. tech talks, Los Angeles).
Now, obviously coworking spaces (open offices filled with individuals from a number of startups working next to each other) are good for networking because that is one of their main purposes, but what is not as commonly known is that they often host a variety events open to the general public. You can either search meetup.com for a list of events, or check each individual site, ex. Kleverdog and Coloft, or use Yelp to find more spaces. Each site has a calendar, and the events range from simple networking, to programming, to startup advice.
Websites are one of the hardest sources to find because they are not part of one platform like LinkedIn or Meetup, but I personally appreciate the resources they provide on top of networking events. Some of my favorites for LA include (and you should tell me if there are any I should add to the list):
Mindshare LA: Mindshare LA holds monthly workshops, salons and movie screenings that gather hundreds of Angelenos for evenings of inspiration and interaction.
Bixelexchange: Bixel Exchange helps technology entrepreneurs thrive. We do this by combining the power of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce and L.A.’s dynamic tech community with the resources of the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Small Business Development Center.
Silicon Beach LA: Your Personal Tour Guide And The Home Of The LA Tech & Startup Community.
Innovate Pasadena: The vision of INNOVATE PASADENA is to create a vibrant ecosystem of technology and design innovation in the greater Pasadena area that supports sustainable economic growth.
Women 2.0: Women 2.0 City Meetup creates an inclusive community for anyone working, innovating, or investing in technology. Women 2.0 City Meetup is open to both women and men.
Techsparks: TECHSPARKS aims to spark innovative new ideas by providing a social forum for entrepreneurial minds. Our events include networking, games, raffles and pitch opportunities to encourage interaction and collaboration.
Silicon Beach Young Professionals: Helping tech businesses grow with local networking events
Pasadena Young Professionals: The Young Professionals of Pasadena is a social and business networking group for people ages 21-40ish who live work and thrive in the Pasadena area.
Now, this obviously is not a comprehensive list, and if you have any other suggestions on finding networking groups or websites to check out, feel free to comment below or shoot an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. I am always looking to improve the list!